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November 8, 2552: 1706 hours GMT, Los Angeles, United Republic of North America

The tram swept into the station, blurs of light and color resolving into recognizable objects. ONI agent Jiro Hideyori stood, stretching his arms. The daily commute always left him sore, no matter how used to it he was. Grabbing his briefcase, he walked out the door and out onto the commuter-filled sidewalk. Stopping for a moment, he stared out into the densely-packed skyline of his home city. Tram lines crossed the gaps between towering skyscrapers, and small street cafes dotted every corner. Hideyori had just seen the advance images from Chicago and New Mombasa, and was still in awe as to how very mundane everything seemed here. People seemed almost oblivious to the near-catastrophe that had come this close to destroying them. No one wants to face up to it, Hideyori thought, and continued on.

Arriving at his apartment, he reached for his pocket and pulled out his key. Tapping it against the lock, he shouldered the door open and dropped his briefcase on the floor, then draped his coat across the back of a chair. Walking to the kitchen, he flicked on a light and began to examine the fridge for food.

"I didn't expect you to be a family man, agent," someone said quietly. Hideyori whirled, hand automatically reaching for the sidearm he'd carried since his time as a beat cop. It was no longer there, but he had another weapon in the drawer under the coffee table. Taking a breath, he looked at the man who sat in one of the recliners in his living room.

The intruder was clean-shaven, with close-cropped brown hair that screamed military. He wore a long black duster, large and baggy enough to hide anything up to the size of an medium-size sub machine gun. His eyes, however, were what caught Hideyori the most. They were almost happy, with a gleam completely at odds with his predatory smile.

"Do you know who I am, agent Hideyori?" the man asked. Hideyori shook his head, trying to figure out what this man wanted. He wasn't a common burglar, but he didn't seem like a Section 0 assassin. If he had been, Hideyori wouldn't have lived this long.

"My name is Logan, Spartan Gee oh-eight-one," the man said, still smiling. Gee-oh-eight-one? Hideyori thought. The secretive SPARTAN program had been revealed to the public a while ago, but this soldier's designation didn't fit into the normal unit designations. "I used to live on Harmony," the Spartan added.

Hideyori's eyes widened. So, that's why he's here. "And that's supposed to mean something to me?" he asked, trying to grab some extra time.

The Spartan's smile widened. "I hope that it does, agent," he said. Suddenly he was in Hideyori's face, moving faster than the agent could see. The smile was now gone.

"You let them die, you bastard," he hissed. "You and the rest of the your committee. You all sat there, comfortable at your table a million lightyears away from the fight, and you decided that Harmony wasn't an important enough target to risk compromising Earth's safety."

"It wasn't!" retorted Hideyori. "Look at the facts. The size of the fleet we figured would be attacking Harmony could easily have overpowered any battlegroup we could have thrown together to stop them. And beyond that-" He lunged for the gun in the drawer he'd been nudging open, but the Spartan was faster. The last thing Hideyori saw was a flash of metal as the soldier drew a combat knife and slammed it into the hollow at the back of his skull.

Logan stood, letting the body slump to the floor, watching as the limbs shook and tremored without their connection to the central nervous system. As he watched, a dark stain spread across the front of Hideyori's trousers. Slowly, the agent stopped moving. Logan nodded. Hideyori had been the last member of the committee that had decided to sacrifice Harmony. It was time to rejoin the rest of Bravo. But first, there were a few things that needed to be done. Logan looked around the apartment, putting together a quick list of the most valuable-looking things in the room. A long, aged katana hanging on the far wall caught his eye. He walked over and drew the sword from its sheath. The hilt appeared old, but the blade had clearly been replaced over the years. He tested the edge- still sharp.

Throwing a number of other small valuables into a bag, Logan stowed the katana beneath his coat and left.